What if we never find another “one”? What if we don’t settle down and have families? What if instead, we have careers and adventures and friends? What if we have a succession of loves with the expectation of change instead of permanence? What if our chosen families are the story of our lives?
— Shauna Miller, Learning to Love the Worst-Case Scenario

The phrase that really struck me in Ms. Miller's paragraph is 'What if'. The power of being able to ask that question - to imagine something other than what is or seems to be - is often overlooked.

We live in a world that is very 'concrete' - facts and figures seem to rule our lives. Science and mathematics have become the cornerstone of many a worldview, and people of (any) faith are sometimes viewed with skepticism. While many recognize the importance of imagination, it is often thought of as a secondary attribute, or worse, something to be suspicious of. And yet, without imagination, our lives would be so much poorer. If no one wondered, 'What if?', we would be stuck with what is - an unchanging onslaught of status quo. The ability to imagine is the spark that allows what is new, unexpected, surprising, amusing, innovative - and often wise - to emerge from ourselves. As more and more education systems streamline towards helping students achieve in the concrete subjects, education in the arts - in ways of feeling, believing, sensing, imagining - are falling by the wayside, and we risk becoming all the poorer as a result.

More importantly, a paucity of imagination can lead to living a life that is stuck in the present, disconnected from the past and powerless in the face of the future. I often invite my clients to use their imagination, to consider what is within the realm of possibility for them in their lives - this is often a first step toward being able to actually bring about meaningful change. Ask 'what if', and allow your inner wisdom to lead the way.